T-Mobile spent $195,000 at President Donald Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel since announcing plans to merge with Sprint in April 2018.
Anthony Russo, T-Mobile’s vice president of federal legislative affairs, confirmed the spending in a Feb. 21 letter to lawmakers obtained by The Washington Post and published by the newspaper Tuesday morning. Prior to the Sprint announcement, T-Mobile executives spent just one night at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., according to Russo’s letter.
The Post reported earlier this year that T-Mobile executives had spent at least 52 nights at Trump’s hotel since announcing the merger, which requires federal approval. In response, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state sent questions to T-Mobile about executives’ patronage of the hotel. In his response, Russo said the $195,000 was about 13 percent of the $1.4 million that T-Mobile spent at hotels in Washington D.C. since last April. The company spent $750,000 at Hilton Hotels, which Russo added for context.
Warren and Jayapal expressed concern that T-Mobile might be “attempting to curry favor with the President” as it seeks merger approval. The wireless carriers need The Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission to sign off on their $26 billion deal before they can combine.
“While we understand that staying at Trump properties might be viewed positively by some and negatively by others, we are confident that the relevant agencies address the questions before them on the merits,” Russo wrote in his letter.
GeekWire has contacted T-Mobile for comment on the letter. There’s no indication of whether or how this issue might impact the regulatory review or T-Mobile’s chances of winning approval for the combination with Sprint. The Justice Department and the FCC declined to comment to the Post.